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1.26.2012

The History of Geocaching

Geochaching was first used by Matt Stum. He used it on the GPS Stash Hunt mailing list that was created in May 30, 2000. Cache actually means a hiding place for items and the other meaning is used in technology of a memory cache on a computer for storage. So, the meaning in this instance of using GPS coordinates to find a geocache is very appropriate. The term made perfect sense when it first began to be used and the two meanings fit well with how the activity worked of having a physical location and a virtual location too. GPS Stash Hunt was the most popular term that was used back in 2000. However, the term changed in September of 2000. Initially when geocaching began, it was usually experienced GPS users that were doing it. These people were already using GPS for outdoor activities, such as backpacking, hiking, boating or anything else. These people already knew how to use GPS and had a very firm grasp of the technology they were using. Typically, people who wanted to get involved in geocaching had a large learning curve to go through to learn how to use the devices and learn how to play as well. Also, the tools that were available were scarce and not commonly found, so being able to find a cache was difficult. The term geocaching began to be used and this is when Irish created the website geocaching.com. He used the skills he had when it came to using the web to create and improve geocaching and hunting of treasures. There was a database created and information was added by hand on the cache listings available. Then there were search features added, such as zip code cache searches and more so people and players could find caches that were near them too. By late 2000, the magazine Slashdot ran an article about geocaching. This introduced the game to other tech professionals and then New York Times also ran the article as well. This continued on, creating a domino effect where people everywhere were finding out about geocaching and the activity. Many newspapers, magazines, blogs and other content areas began running stories about geocaching and people began picking up on it and getting involved in the activity. However, since caches were still scarce, people were wondering if they listed their cache, would people come to play. However, they found out very quickly that they would. The slogan or mantra became, if you hide it, they will come. So, people began starting caches and others did join the game. The spreading of the games happened through word of mouth, articles and even when other people not playing accidentally found the caches too. Over time, more and more people got involved in the games and began adding their own too. Now geocaching has become an activity that GPS and technology enthusiasts still enjoy and do, as well as couples, families, groups, organizations and many other people get involved in as well. ​

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